A Comparison of the Decline of Han China and the Roman Empire

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A Comparison of the Decline of Han China and the Roman Empire The decline of China and Rome both shared similar economic strife in that they were both subject to barbarian and nomadic invasions, therefore having to spend large amounts of money on frontier defense; however, they differed in that the Han Empire collapsed in part due to the high taxes imposed on the peasant class resulting in a large peasant rebellion, such as the Yellow Turbans, while in Rome tax collections was in danger of abandonment as residents of the empire were few in number and in financial difficulty. In addition, the two empires were similar socially because of large epidemics, diseases, and plagues that caused a population decrease. Also, both experienced a cultural decay in intellectual creativity and innovations. Differences appear in that China shared common culture, such as the Chinese script, while Rome was more fragmented causing a less severe fall in China than Rome. Politically, the falls of both empires were similar in that their central governments no longer prospered, and split; Rome into first two, then four parts, and China into three parts. Contrasts appear when comparing political leaders in both civilizations. Rome experienced a period of political confusion when weak emperors ruled and succession turned into civil war, while in China it was the bureaucrats who became more corrupt and in turn local landlords gained more power. During the time of Classical China and Rome, nomadic tribes of barbarians inhabited areas around the civilizations. The Xiongnu and Xianbei were active tribes near China’s borders, while various Germanic tribes attempted to invade Rome. Both civilizations used a great deal of capital to protect the barriers of their civilizations. China began construction of the Great Wall, and Rome put up a series of garrisons and forts to protect their border. The effect of this was crippling on both civilizations, and eroded the empire’s economy....
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